Your typical mediaeval peasant got more time off than your average modern worker does. Mostly this was due to the number of holy days and festivals in the calendar. What would happen if we celebrated more holy days and festivals?
At the moment in the UK we get time off for Christmas, Easter and New Year, and we get a few secular bank holidays. Imagine having an extra day off every month and how much good that would do!
Imagine a shared calendar that acknowledged festivals from a range of faiths, not just Christianity. Most of us don’t celebrate Christmas and Easter as Christian sacred days – they tend to be about food and family get-togethers. Having more holy day holidays would not require anyone to show up for festivals outside their faith. (I can almost hear the wilfully angry frothing at the mouth as they announce that they are being forced to celebrate… )
It seems massively unfair to me that we only celebrate festivals from one faith group. It would be much more fun to have more of them. It would no doubt be lovely for people from other faiths to have one of their own festivals off work each year.
It might bring other benefits. It might encourage people to find out a little bit more about other cultures and religions. This would be a good antidote to racism, fear and prejudice. Getting a day off on the basis of someone else’s festival might encourage people to feel a bit more positive about other religions – who doesn’t like a holiday? Those who are determined to froth at the mouth would no doubt keep doing that, but you know they’d take the day off and roast an animal.
As a Pagan living within a Christian calendar, I’d rather enjoy having more diversity. It would also be feasible to have a Pagan festival in that mix. I suspect it would be Beltain because that already has a bank holiday associated with it in terms of timing.
At time of writing it is hard to imagine the UK changing in this way. However, change comes from people imagining it, and there’s a lot to be said for imagining unlikely things.
This blog post owes a lot to my son James, who did most of the speculating for me and was happy to have that made off with.